I was watching an interesting program with Stuart the other day about Pensions in Britain. Is it effective? Has the country benefited from this?
In Britain, the average worker gets 20% taken away from their pay check, which is what they pay for council tax. This money goes into funding for education, health, public services, benefits, and last of all, pension. Well at least that was what I was told.
But honestly, I don’t understand how is that enough when I see more bums in the street living off benefits. I met so many students who took advantage of free education and ended up wasting the government’s money on education for them when the money could have been spent on something more productive, and I see elderly getting pension even when they don’t need it.
How can education ever be free? In the past I really wish for free education. But if you think about it, education requires an institution. It requires a good teaching staff. It requires sufficient equipment and facilities. It requires recognition. Education is considered a luxury. This means money.
With the raising living standards, of course a more higher class medical service is expected. It requires research. It requires a good health staff. An efficient functioning health institution. All these means money… as well. Though, every time I go to the doctor they’re are so freakin useless saying I’m okay when I am obviously coughing my lungs out -_-
I am talking about road maintenance. Building maintenance. Council services ensuring security and sustainability of the city. Making sure everything is in order. Having a good government body. Yep, this means money.. again. Still, everything closes at 6, food is too expensive to eat out…
This is the worst part of it all. I absolutely have no respect for anyone who is going to live off the government, not bothering to get a job, or rather, being a beggar as a living. Getting pregnant without advance family planning, dropping out of school and not focusing in getting a ideal future for one’s self. Honestly, this type of mindset still existing in a developed country? At the end of the day, the government has to spend money on these useless bums, when all that money could be spent on making a better environment for the citizens to live in.
When I first mentioned about giving 10-20% of my salary to my parents as soon as I start working, Stuart was rather shock. I mean in Singapore, that is the way isn’t it? Your parents gave you life, wisdom, and knowledge. Gave you the decent environment to grow up in to make you who you are today. The least we could do is to ensure their comfort when they reach their retirement age. Which was why I was surprised that such a economically advance country like Britain don’t practice such values. Instead, the old folks rely on pension instead.
I understand how Stuart explains that it is just culture differences. But then again, I could never imagine myself not giving my parents money even when the government is. How can a child just “fuck off” after knowing all they their parents have done for them? I think this goes beyond culture into personal values and self-conscience.
I was watching “Cathy Come Home” at school the other day, and I was extremely taken back by the social and housing problems in Britain. All I could ask myself was, “does this Cathy women not have any family connections?” If she had, are they that heartless to not take her in at her time of need?
It is when looking at all these little issues happening here, I started to understand why the Singapore government set certain policies a certain way:
Our medical fees are partly subsidised - Now singapore has one of the highest standards in Medicine.
Our School fees are partly subsidised - most of us treasure education and will by hook or by crook GET an education even if it means stepping on everyone else.
Our taxes are only 7% - which caters to our public services. Together with that there are foreign taxes that contributes to the society.
20% are being set aside by the government for retirement for us - We work for our own pension. Which makes us even more hard-working in our career which contributes to the economy to be more productive.
It can all be argued that because Singapore is a small country, it is easier to manage. This is very true. Even if we happen to have social problems it wouldn’t be as bad as how it is here. But looking at Britain’s long painful transition since the 1800s, it makes it quite amazing to look at Singapore’s rapid transition from the 1960s to what it is today.
But again, you can’t deny the beautiful historical landscape and monument Britain has managed to preserve for hundreds of years. Despite the terrible economy, people(like me) come here not for the market, but the wonderful culture that is largely influence since the Victorian times. If only this beauty was reflected in the lives of the modern folks.
P.S: I still want a scottish wedding in Scotland.
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